Article in Tunisian press
For those of you who don't read French, myself included, I used Google's language tools to generate a translation, which I then edited for clarity:
A Tunisian-American Musical Soirée at the Acropolium
by Emmanuelle Houerbi
This past October 17, Nidhal Jebali violinist and pianist Kimball Gallagher performed in concert at the Acropolium as part of the musical in October. This was an opportunity to hear one of our young talents and to discover the American Association "Cultures in Harmony." Its goal: "uniting people through music."
Nidhal Jebali, second year student at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in the United States, appears regularly in concert in Tunisia. This Oct. 17, as part of the music festival in October, he performed with the American Kimball Gallagher works by Debussy, Wieniawski, and Cesar Franck, and one of his compositions: "Metamorphoses."
Concert after concert, the audience has had the pleasure of seeing this young violinist and composer change rapidly, making the most of his time overseas and the teachings of famous masters.
Nidhal Jebali: a "success story"
It all started in summer 2005. William Harvey, an American violinist who graduated from the Juilliard School in New York and founded Cultures in Harmony, was for the first time on tour in Tunisia. After hearing Nidhal Jebali, who was 15 years old, play the fourth concerto by Mozart, he was convinced of having found a young talent. On his advice, Nidhal participated in summer 2006 at the Summer String Academy of Indiana University, led by the violinist Mimi Zweig.
For the record, Nidhal is the first student from Africa, and his presence raised a host of unusual questions: "You come from Africa? But you're not black!", "Do you have cars or do you move around on your camel?" "Are you a terrorist?" Five years later, he laughs at this. Fortunately, Nidhal is sociable, friendly, and his first experience was successful, reoccuring the next two summers.
Then in 2009, time for business. After graduating from high school, Nidhal again obtained a scholarship, but this time to go study the violin at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. And last summer, before starting his second year, Nidhal attended the New York Summer Music Festival with another young Tunisian violinist, Senda Zayati. A new memorable and informative experience.
Crossing borders through music
If Nidhal had a unique opportunity (and a lot of credit!), he is not the only one supported by the association and the U.S. embassy to develop his talent. Every year since 2005, teachers and American musicians cross the Atlantic for concerts, conduct master classes, and participate in music courses in Tunisia.
Since this last summer, Kimball Gallagher has provided courses to over 30 young pianists at the Atlas Beni Mtir Music Academy, along with the Turkish-Tunisian pianist Füsun Regaieg and Polish pianist Lech Furdyna. A perfect example of harmony and blending of cultures around a common passion: music.
More generally, since its inception in 2005, Cultures in Harmony conducted over twenty projects in over 10 countries and formed a group of fifty musicians (from all sources, and mostly women) who travel the world in projects depending on the needs on the ground. True "musical ambassadors" for the promotion of cultural exchanges, they build a positive image of the United States in the world.
Music for a successful democratic transition?
After the Arab revolutions, Cultures in Harmony is committed to supporting the democratic transition in Tunisia and Egypt. The focus of its projects will be on chamber music, conducting, composition, and the organization of a "musical caravan" across the regions. This ambitious project is called "Connect Cultures Through Counterpoint," in reference to this delicate musical discipline in which several voices coexist in perfect harmony. On his blog, William Harvey, the founder of the association, is delighted about this project: "Our work in Tunisia is older and deeper than in any other country."
Since the first project in 2005, the exchanges have never ceased, and over 10 American musicians have traveled to Tunisia to date, thanks to the many donors and the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, which has supported and continues to support this ambitious initiative.